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Belongingness: Malaysian nurses’ experiences in the clinical workplace

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posted on 28.02.2017, 04:45 by Mohamed, Zainah
The need to belong has been proposed to be the most basic need for human psychological wellbeing. Lack of belongingness has been associated with stress, anxiety, and lack of esteem. Understanding the nature of nurses’ interconnection with others and their perceptions of belongingness has been linked to social and psychological functioning in the workplace. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore factors contributing to Malaysian nurses’ sense of belonging in the workplace. Registered nurses (n = 437) from two hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, completed a previously validated questionnaires translated into the Malay language. Questionnaires were analysed using a variety of statistical measures for the close-ended questions, and content analysis for two open-ended questions. Subsequent to answering the survey, ten nurses participated in individual interviews which were thematically analysed. Nurses enhanced their sense of belonging through acceptance, ‘fitting in’, respect, and group harmony. There were no specific demographic factors contributing to the perceptions. The four core themes that emerged from the interview were: what it means to belong; being heard; finding a way to fit in; and the influence of Malay culture. The findings confirmed the positive effects of sense of belonging on feeling motivated, confidence level, and job satisfaction. The results also provide evidence for an effect of positive workplace culture which included supportive colleagues, the nursing manager and the other health care team members in enhancing a sense of belonging among nurses. Aspects of belongingness in Malaysian nurses reflect those of nurses elsewhere. However, there are specific cultural influences at play. Given the likely influence of Malaysian culture, development of a measurement scale based on Eastern culture would help in enhancing understanding of workplace practices among these groups of nurses.


Principal supervisor

Lisa Gaye McKenna

Additional supervisor 1

Jennifer Margaret Newton

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences